Football Playoff Projections: Week 8

*EDITED 10/3 with more details and a team-by-team breakdown rather than divisional breakdown

With the high school football playoffs only two weeks away from Friday, and brackets out a week from Sunday, how do area teams stack up? (Big 8, Badger, Capitol, Rock Valley conferences).

Clinched: Area teams that are guaranteed to finish the season with records over .500

Sun Prairie, Middleton, Madison West, Verona, Waunakee, Mount Horeb/Barneveld, DeForest, Monona Grove, Stoughton, Lodi, Clinton, Jefferson, Turner

Eligible: Area teams that are guaranteed to finish the season at a .500 record or higher

Cambridge, Belleville

Bubble: Area teams that can still clinch a playoff spot, or become playoff eligible:

Janesville Craig, Madison La Follette, Beaver Dam, Portage, Watertown, Oregon, Monroe, Lake Mills, Luther Prep, Columbus, Lakeside Lutheran, New Glarus/Monticello, Waterloo, Marshall, 

In The Hunt: Area teams that can still finish with a 4-5 or 3-4 conference record (if there are fewer than 224 .500 record or higher teams, the next teams into the playoffs would be those with a 4-5 record, then 3-4, etc.), but cannot clinch a playoff spot:

Beloit Memorial, Madison Memorial, Reedsburg, Sauk Prairie, Milton, Fort Atkinson, Poynette, Brodhead/Juda, Edgerton, Big Foot, McFarland

WIAA Preliminary Playoff Field Report

WisSports Projected Playoff Field

WIAA Playoff Procedures 

Sun Prairie (7-0, 7-0), Big 8 - Division 1 (2370)

As one of the largest schools in the state, Sun Prairie is a lock for Division 1. If they win out, they will also be a strong favorite to get a #1 seed. With only five undefeated teams (and eight undefeated in conference teams) in the current projected playoff field, there isn't much competition for Sun Prairie to get a top seed, unless they lose one of their final two games or a team like Franklin is moved into their region.

Projected Seed Range: #1

Madison West (5-2, 5-2), Big 8 - Division 1 (2191)

Madison West is a lock for Division 1. The Regents have some work to do to close out the season, including a date with Janesville Craig, a team trying to make the playoffs, this week. West will need to avoid any other setbacks in order to stay in the middle of the seeding pack, and perhaps contend for a home playoff game.

Projected Seed Range: #3-6

Middleton (6-1, 6-1), Big 8 - Division 1 (2157)

Middleton will be playing in Division 1. With most of their games against contending teams all finished, the Cardinals can focus on getting healthy and preparing for the playoffs. Because of their Week 2 loss to Sun Prairie, Middleton won't be a top seed, but will likely end up hosting Level 1 of the playoffs.

Projected Seed Range: #2-4

Verona (5-2, 5-2), Big 8 - Division 1 (1594)

Verona will be in Division 1. The loss to Madison West puts the Wildcats at a serious disadvantage for seeding. Verona will likely have to travel for Level 1. Unless Verona can upset Sun Prairie, that is: a win over the Cardinals could alter the entire Division 1 landscape for seeding. It might require an extra Milwaukee-area school to slide over to balance the regions, if there are too many #1 seed contenders in one group. So, this week's game is a big one.

Projected Seed Range: #5-7

Janesville Craig, Madison La Follette, Beloit Memorial, Madison Memorial if 4-5: Whichever team or teams make it from this group will almost certainly be the lowest seed or seeds in the group. That means potentially a road date with Sun Prairie to open the playoffs. All of these schools are Division 1.

Waunakee (7-0, 5-0), Badger North - Division 2 (1236)

Locked in as a Division 2 school. While the latest field projections push a great quad of Menasha, Menomonie, Greendale, and Whitefish Bay down to D3, any one of those that bubble up to D2 will instantly be a top seed contender. Most of the strength in D2 resides in the southern half of the state under the current projection, with the Badger North and Badger South champions appearing to be on track for an undefeated season while Waukesha West and Brookfield Central are also undefeated. It really depends on whether or not some of these schools are split up. Waunakee, by winning out, would be a lock for a #1 seed.

Projected Seed Range: #1

DeForest (5-2, 4-1), Badger North - Division 2 (1037)

It would take an influx of larger schools to push the Norskies to Division 3, but for now they're in Division 2. Last year, DeForest finished third in the conference and got Waunakee in Level 1 as part of a #1 vs #8 game. This year, DeForest could finish third with a loss to Mount Horeb/Barneveld, but could finish this year's season with a 5-2 conference record as opposed to 3-3 from 2016. That would mean a higher seed of course, and possibly one good enough to get a home game.

Projected Seed Range: #3-6

Monona Grove (7-0, 5-0), Badger South - Division 2 or 3 (1022)

The defending D2 runner-up squad is on the cusp of finding themselves in Division 3 depending on how things break. Either way, expect MG to be a top seed if they win over Stoughton to clinch a share of the division title. Much like Waunakee's situation, the Silver Eagles could find themselves in the same group as the Warriors, or with a drop to D-3 and, much like last year, bang around in a very deep field. 

Projected Seed Range: #1-4

Stoughton (7-0, 5-0), Badger South - Division 2 or 3 (1011)

Stoughton is right next to Monona Grove in enrollment and is right on the cut line for D2/D3. Win against MG and Stoughton can assure itself of a top seed, but a loss and the Vikings could tumble to a #3 or #4. The reality for the losing team in Friday's contest: If they stay in Division 2, they could be looking at a Level 2 game against Waunakee. If they drop to Division 3, it's an incredibly stacked field, and most of the teams with 6-1 records (there are several) have played more difficult schedules.

Projected Seed Range: #1-4

Mount Horeb/Barneveld (6-1, 4-1) - Division 3 (870)

MH/B is in the larger schools as part of the Division 3 field, which has a very wide enrollment gap in the projections (nearly 1,000 down to the mid-600s). The only loss the Vikings suffered was to Waunakee, but nearly all of the other 6-1 teams in Division 3 at the moment have played some great competition as well. So, MH/B probably won't get a #1 seed. However, they should easily have enough on their resume for a home playoff game by winning out.

Projected Seed Range: #2-4

Watertown, Oregon, Milton, Fort Atkinson, Monroe, Beaver Dam, Reedsburg, Portage, Sauk Prairie if 4-3 or 3-4: The larger schools of this group (such as Watertown and Oregon) have better chances of getting a more favorable lower seed (like a #6 or #7), especially if they won out, but for all of these schools, making it in with a 4-3 or 3-4 record would mean a road game with a pretty respectable opponent. The D3 field in particular appears fairly deep, so the top three or four seeds could be formidable, if not the entire region. The field is a little more top-heavy in Division 2 at the moment.

Area Clinched Teams:

Jefferson (6-1, 6-1)), Rock Valley - Division 3 (657) - Projected #3-6 seed

Lodi (7-0, 3-0), Capitol North - Division 4 (495) - Projected #1 seed

Turner (5-2, 5-2), Rock Valley - Division 4 (464) - Projected #3-6 seed

Clinton (7-0, 7-0), Rock Valley - Division 5 (364) - Projected #1 seed

*After next week we will do win-loss scenarios for each squad

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